Predator control is the key to achieving the vision that kiwi thrive and prosper in the Whakatane district
Kiwi chicks are vulnerable to stoats because as young birds they are very small, and distinctly smelly . It is believed that 95 percent of all wild chicks are killed by stoats before they reach “stoat safe weight” of 1000-1100 grams. This is why eggs are removed from the forest, hatched and then returned as “stoat safe” chicks.
Active stoat control is carried out in preparation for the hatching of chicks insitu. Predator control targeting stoats is well established within Ohope Scenic Reserve and Ngati Awa Farm of over approx 3000ha. Results have been very good with a steady fall in stoat capture figures within the Core as new areas have come on line.
This suggests that most resident animals are being captured quickly while ongoing captures may be animals travelling through or ranging into the reserve. Predator control is currently being extended into two adjoining reserves, Kohi Point and Mokorua Scenic Reserves. This will target stoats, ferrets and weasels and will bring a further 1100ha of traps into action. Most of these will be managed by volunteers.
POSSUM AND RAT CONTROLPossum and rat control is done in three scenic reserves, a native forest block on Ngati Awa Farm, and on two blocks of forest on other private land. The fact sheet shows the location of this land. In all 1150ha is treated under a Bay of Plenty Regional Council Biodiversity Management Plan. This 5-year agreement between landowners entrusts the pest control to the Whakatane Kiwi Trust.
Possum and rat control benefits the forest habitat generally and has proven to increase the population of smaller native birds. The main benefit for kiwi is an increase in cover and an increase in invertebrates on the forest floor once rat and mouse numbers collapse. These insects and other small animals form an important part of the diet of kiwi.
Whakatane Reserves Notification Fact Sheet 2013-14